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Hit-and-Run Passenger Shoots at Off-Duty Officer Who Followed Car: Court

By Erica Demarest | September 8, 2015 6:36pm
 Benjamin Russell, 24, who was driving the car, was charged with attempted first-degree murder, authorities said.
Benjamin Russell, 24, who was driving the car, was charged with attempted first-degree murder, authorities said.
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DNAinfo; Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — After a West Town parolee struck an ambulance early Sunday, someone inside his car began shooting at an off-duty police officer who witnessed the crash, prosecutors alleged Tuesday.

Benjamin Russell, 24, who is currently on parole for armed robbery, was driving his brother's car about 2:15 a.m. Sunday when he hit an ambulance in the 1800 block of West Huron Street, Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Walsh said during a bond hearing Tuesday.

Russell's brother was in the front passenger seat, while an unknown accomplice sat in the back, prosecutors said.

After Russell hit the ambulance, he sped off without calling 911, according to Walsh.

An off-duty Berwyn Police officer who saw the crash began to chase Russell as Russell sped through several side streets and alleys, prosecutors said.

At one point, the man sitting in the back of Russell's car opened his door, pulled a gun and began shooting at the officer, Walsh said. The officer, who had been heading home from work, pulled his own gun and fired back before eventually stopping his car, she added.

The off-duty Berwyn officer was able to give Chicago Police a description of Russell, as well as the make, model and license plate number of the car he was driving, court records show.

The car was registered to Russell's brother, who told police Russell had been driving, Walsh said.

Russell, of the 1200 block of West Ohio Street, was arrested about 8:50 p.m. Sunday and charged with attempted first-degree murder. The alleged shooter has not yet been arrested. There's no word on whether Russell's brother will be charged.

Cook County Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. on Tuesday ordered Russell held in lieu of $2 million bail.

Russell is currently on parole for a 2012 armed-robbery conviction, in which he was sentenced to six years in prison. He was released on parole on June 5 of this year, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Prosecutors said Russell has been previously convicted of 10 misdemeanors.

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